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Best Small Soundbar of 2024

Take your TV setup to the next level with a sound bar that will bring those binge sessions to life.

Updated Jan. 15, 2024 4:00 a.m. PT

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Written by  Ty Pendlebury
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Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
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$130 at Roku
Roku Streambar with remote
Best overall
Roku Streambar
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$180 at Amazon
A side view of a gray Yamaha soundbar on a wooden TV stand.
Best for dialogue
Yamaha SR-C20A
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$300 at Polk Audio
polk-magnifi-mini-03.jpg
Best for music
Polk Audio MagniFi Mini
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$280 at Best Buy
sonos ray
Best for Sonos fans
Sonos Ray
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Despite what some people may think, bigger isn't always better. You can still get an exceptional audio experience without buying a huge speaker setup. If you don't have the room or just don't feel like spending an arm and a leg on speakers, you should consider some of the best small soundbars instead. 

If you have a small TV or only have a tiny place to fit an external speaker, a small soundbar can still deliver exceptional sound quality. The best small soundbars can fit into cramped spaces and come with a surprising number of features. For example, the Roku Streambar isn't only a compact soundbar but also a capable video streamer, making it great for a bedroom setup. If making dialogue easier to understand is your aim, the Polk or Yamaha speakers below could be a great fit.

All the systems here feature single soundbars ranging between 1 and 2 feet long, while the Polk also includes a separate subwoofer

Editors' choice
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$130 at Roku

Best overall

Roku Streambar

If there was ever a solid gold bargain, it's undoubtedly the Roku Streambar, which combines both audio and streaming in one device. This is a two-channel soundbar with a fully-fledged 4K streamer onboard, and even if you don't use the streaming functions it works well as a standalone soundbar. As a smaller soundbar, it doesn't have the deepest bass, but it does offer an expressive midrange with a dedicated voice mode for clearer dialog. It's an unbeatable value and frequently on sale for under $100.

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$180 at Amazon

Best for dialogue

Yamaha SR-C20A

Yamaha is one of the most consistent makers of soundbars, but this also means its designs tend to cost a little more than competitors. The SR-C20A, on the other hand, is affordable and also manages to sound great when paired with your TV.

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$300 at Polk Audio

Best for music

Polk Audio MagniFi Mini

At 13 inches wide, the soundbar part of the Mini fits the moniker, even if you do need somewhere to put the gallon-sized subwoofer. The inclusion of the sub is worthwhile, as the system punches well above its weight with great sound in movies and with music. In addition, having Google's Chromecast built-in enables a wealth of streaming and multiroom capabilities.

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$280 at Best Buy

Best for Sonos fans

Sonos Ray

Sonos' entry-level soundbar features the company's excellent multiroom music system onboard while being smaller than the Sonos Beam. We were impressed with the sound quality for both music and movies. It delivers a surprisingly wide soundstage through the use of proprietary waveguides. Connection is simple with a single optical connection, while users seeking HDMI or Atmos should look to the step-up Beam Gen 2.

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